Chapter 5 in the book ‘On Dialogue’ had a particular relevance to me. A further look at slippages of role in my practice in an attempt to understand what is happening when they occur. Bohm presents a strange book. At certain points the writing ties itself in knots, describing and describing the same thing in many guises. I had to dip in and emerge often to get through it. Chapter 5 & 6 were the most memorable. Bold italics are excepts from Chapter 5.

So the observer is what gathers: it selects and gathers the relevant information and organizes it into some meaning and picture. And that is what’s done by the assumptions in thought. According to what you assume, you will collect and gather certain information as important and put it together in a certain way, in a certain structure.

Notebook page outlining Task 1 for MA3

But this “observer” profoundly affects what it is observing, and is also affected by what it is observing—there is really very little separation between them. If the emotions are what are being observed, then the “observing” assumptions are profoundly affected by the emotions, and the emotions are profoundly affected by the assumptions.

On the other hand, if you say the emotions are the observer, and are determining the way things are organized, then the assumptions will be the observed. Either way, the observed is profoundly affected by the observer, and the observer by the observed—they really are one cycle, one process. The separation between them is not very significant

Entanglement galore as observer/observed weave their way through the working week. Reading Chapter 5 bolstered me, perhaps my initial negative perception of it being a dangerous thing, almost like multiple personalities could be in fact a natural response to the demands of the multiple perspectives that need to be captured.


Bohm, D (1996) On Dialogue. London, Routledge.